Sat, Jul 05, 2003 - Page 18 News List

Zito evens it up at top of the AL tree

MLB ACTION The Oakland Athletics outclassed the Seattle Mariners in a 5-2 win that could have a major impact on events later in the American League West

AP , OAKLAND, CALIFORNIAAP, ST. LOUIS

Oakland Athletics second baseman Mark Ellis throws to first base on a double play after forcing out Seattle Mariners Mike Cameron in the second innning on Thursday in Oakland, California. The Mariners' Willie Bloomquist was out at first on the double play.

PHOTO: AP

Barry Zito pitched into the eighth inning for his second victory in nine starts as the Oakland Athletics beat the Seattle Mariners 5-2 on Thursday.

Five players drove in a run as Oakland salvaged a four-game split of the American League West series with the division leaders.

"We've still got a long way to go, but if we'd lost today, it would have been a longer way to go," Oakland manager Ken Macha said. "This was a good split. We should feel we can play with these guys."

After a lengthy stretch of bad innings and bad luck, Zito (8-5) finally got back on track with one of his better starts in two months. The AL Cy Young pitching award winner, who blew a six-run lead in his last start, allowed 10 hits -- but nine were singles.

"I was throwing strikes more consistently, and they noticed and started hacking," Zito said. "I felt good, and my pitch count was low. I gave up a lot of singles, and a lot of times you can't defend against that. I kept them away from any big innings."

Keith Foulke got the final four outs for his 22nd save in 25 chances.

Edgar Martinez hit his 17th homer of the season for the Mariners.

Ryan Franklin (6-7) lost his third straight start, allowing a season-high 10 hits in 5 1-3 innings.

Devil Rays 6, Red Sox 5, 10 innings

In St. Petersburg, Florida, Marlon Anderson singled with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th inning to give Tampa Bay a victory over Boston.

Anderson delivered the game-winning hit off Mike Timlin (3-3) after Aubrey Huff and Travis Lee singled, and Al Martin, whose two-run homer off Brandon Lyon tied the game at 5 in the eighth, drew an intentional walk with one out.

Travis Harper (1-4) pitched two scoreless innings for the win.

Manny Ramirez homered twice and drove in three runs for the Red Sox. David Ortiz and Trot Nixon also homered for the Red Sox.

Orioles 6, Blue Jays 5

In Baltimore, Jeff Conine went 3-for-4 with a two-run homer to back a solid pitching performance by Jason Johnson as Baltimore beat Toronto.

Melvin Mora had two hits and drove in two runs to help the Orioles win their second straight after a five-game skid.

Johnson (7-3) gave up four runs and eight hits over seven innings to earn his first win in eight decisions against the Blue Jays. Jorge Julio got the final four outs for his 17th save.

Eric Hinske homered, and Shannon Stewart and Carlos Delgado each had three hits for the Blue Jays, who have lost five of six. Doug Davis (4-6) allowed three runs on nine hits in four-plus innings.

Indians 4, Twins 1

In Minneapolis, C.C. Sabathia threw a four-hitter and Jody Gerut homered to help Cleveland hand Minnesota its fourth straight defeat.

Sabathia (8-3) won his fourth straight decision, walking one and striking out five in his first complete game this season and the third of his career.

Matthew LeCroy homered in the ninth to break up the shutout bid, but Minnesota lost for the 14th time in 19 games.

Shane Spencer went 2-for-3 with two RBIs for Cleveland, which won the first meeting of the season between the AL Central foes.

Kenny Rogers (7-4) gave up three runs, six hits and four walks in 6 2-3 innings _ and was ejected when he hit a batter with a pitch.

Royals 3, Tigers 2

In Kansas City, Missouri, Michael Tucker homered and Jeremy Affeldt pitched seven strong innings to lead Kansas City past Detroit.

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